tv The Ed Show MSNBC January 31, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PST
hell breaking news. we'll cover it here on "hardball" stay tuned. that is "hardball" for now, the "the ed show" starts right now. good evening, americans. welcome to "the ed show." tonight, president obama has the entire republican party on the ropes. the republicans are taking one cheap shot trying to get back in the fight. this is "the ed show," let's get to work. what did you call president obama? >> i called him captain schettino, the captain that fled the ship in italy. >> the obama derangement syndrome is going to the new level. >> get the held out of the united states of america. >> melissa harris-perry and dr. james peterson have reaction. the fight for florida is ending with a flurry. >> conservatives will come together and decide they don't want a massachusetts liberal to be the republican nominee. >> the speaker has been attacking me all over the state in ways that are extraordinary.
>> the latest with e.j. dionne. >> bill burton and joan walsh >> bill burton and joan walsh with the problem with the latino vote. the fight for fairness headed to the floor of the senate. robert reich on today's big news for the buffet rule. good to have you with us tonight, thanks for watching. newt gingrich is taking a pounding in florida. he's been outspent by mitt romney 5-to-1, poll numbers have taken a dive. but even gingrich knows what kind of red meat the conservative republican audience wants. >> something very, very important, something i want to take a minute to talk about. the obama administration is engaged in a war against religion. >> gingrich has no proof that president obama is waging a war against religion but proof with these guys is not necessary.
the top two republican candidates have been saying all kind of extreme things about the president for the past two months. >> he wants to turn america into a european-style social welfare state. >> president obama has been historically the most effective food stamp president in american history. >> president obama has reversed john kennedy's call for sacrifice. he would have americans now ask what can the country do for you? >> told you everything you need to know about barack obama and five of us, we think work is good. >> this extreme rhetoric is at the heart of the gop. now it's the head of the republican party. he goes on television this weekend and compared president obama to a man accused of manslaughter. >> in a few months this is all going to be ancient history we'll talk about our own little captain schettino, president obama who is abandoning the ship here in the united states and more interested in campaigning than doing his job as president.
>> what did you just say, what did you call president obama? >> i called him captain schettino. the captain that fled the ship in italy. that is our own president who is fleeing the american people and not doing his job and running around the country and campaigning. >> the captain of the italian cruise ship faces criminal charges in the deaths of at least 17 people. he is accused of abandoning the ship even people within the republican party said he was out of line with the comments. but he defended himself on fox news today. >> this is ridiculous, megan. analogy was made and analogy of leadership in a time of crisis, in a time of crisis this president is leaving the white house and campaigning non-stop all the time. i think it's pretty clear. >> actually, it was paralleling the alleged criminal act of a ship captain.
and that's what the head of the grand old party thinks of the president of the united states? they have no boundaries, they will go as low as they have to go. obama derangement syndrome is trickling down. remember this photo from last week with arizona governor jan brewer shoving her finger in the president's face? well, she said she felt threatened, but now brewer, you know what she is doing? fundraising off the picture. her pac website pro claims "i was telling him one more year" that is fwhoot she was telling the media. she told the media she felt threatened do people talk like that if they feel threatened? the republican party is creating an alternative reality to bash the president. they say untrue things about the president in a very tasteless manner, analogies to do what? fire up the base. but you see there is one thing
about all this, not working on the majority of the american people. president obama's approval rating holy smokes, going up. recent washington post abc news poll shows president obama is now in 53% approval rating. highest approval rating since april of 2010. even right wing pollster rasmussen has president obama at 51% approval rating. these extreme attacks by republicans are happening because the president was effective in the state of the union address last week and this is the only way they know how to combat it. he was effective because he had the facts on his side. >> in the six months before i took office we lost nearly four million jobs. we lost another four million before our policies wr in full effect. those are the facts. but so are these. in the last 22 months, businesses have created more than three million jobs.
[ applause ] >> ahh, but some republicans want to you leave the country if you support him. the republicans will attack this president from now all the way to election day, won't back off, but their strategies need to be based in reality, facts. the american people won't respond well to the extreme attacks. get your cell phones out. tonight's question, will republican lies about president obama work? text a for yes, b for no to 622639 our blog at ed.msnbc.com. we love it when you make a comment. we'll bring you results later in the show. joining me is melissa harris-perry and tulane professor, also dr. james peterson with us tonight, director of african that studies at lehigh university. melissa, for the head of the republican party to compare the president of the united states
to an alleged criminal, possibly facing manslaughter, how low will they go? >> what i appreciated about the duck shun, we have the rhetoric, we have the choices being made by the american people. i think we have to be careful about getting too anxious. >> should he apologize? >> i don't think so. >> you don't? >> no, from two perspectives. from a pure political perspective if you're president obama right now these attacks are working to make president obama seem more reasonable in the light of most sort of swing voters, people who will actually be important for winning the election. beyond the politics, for the kind of fact base part of what this allows the president to do is consistently look like the grown-up in the room compared to people saying appalling things. >> james, your thoughts, do you think he should apologize for the unwarranted attack? >> well, no, let me congratulate
melissa on her new show. there is no need for an apology unless he wants more media time to talk to the media. melissa is right, the american people understand what the choices are that we have to make going forward. i'm a literary guy, i love navigation analogies, this doesn't stick. the president is on a so-called campaign trail. what is he talking about? new energy policies, job policies, the urgent things this country needs. >> what about the respect of the office, the head of the gop is comparing this president to an alleged criminal and you don't think that deserves any kind of response that well maybe i went too far? >> james you'll appreciate that, i'm reading right now in jeffersonian era, you want to talk people who said insanely over the top things about the
president, some of them were completely over the top. i want to point out this has been part of american rhetoric, and what we have to remain focused on is not the damage to the president's ego or the office but rather what it does in a divisiveness of the american people. how does this kind of language suggest to some americans, you get to be part of this, sort of political process and others you don't get to be part. >> at this point, ed, the american people are unfortunately getting used to this kind of rhetoric coming from the right. so many instances we talked about disrespectful things directed toward the president. american people know politics is a dirty business, we want to raise the discourse, that is a honk way in the future. >> permeating through the congress on the right ring as well. allen west used heated language against the president this weekend, here it is. >> we need to let president
obama, harry reid, nancy pelosi, and my dear friend the chairman of the democrat national committee, we need to let them know that florida ain't on the table. you can take it to europe or the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the north pole, but get the hell out of the united states of america. >> so if you don't agree with republicans, leave the country, melissa. >> this is the oldest nastiest way of throwing some people out of the american story, not a country of people who disagree and disagree without becoming disagreeable, not a country always built on the free exchange of ideaideas, not that the first amendment is powerful and how we choose leaders, if i don't agree with you, then you are no longer american. and that very base level that notion if we don't agree you're not part of the story, that i
think is a thing most dangerous, much more dangerous than any mean words we call the president. >> exactly. >> does all this rhetoric being thrown out help president obama and democrats win the house back? >> certainly some of it does. who is allen west? who is this guy? let's debate this guy, talk to him and see what is going on in his mind. he seemed to be off the charts here. and the bottom line here, when we think about the ways in which the political discourse has been contaminated by this kind of language, i do think we need to be concerned about it and address it in some kind of direct way. also, can we get beyond the kind of isolationist, negative rhetoric dominating the discourse on the right, we just need to be better than this. we need to be better. >> i don't hear democrats talking the way jan brewer talks or the way congressman west talks. or i haven't heard any chairman of the democratic party speak that way about the pr -- the
president of the united states. i never heard george h.w. bush talk like that. >> it feels like desperation, like this is a republican party that sees itself and the base slipping away, that has kind of painted itself in a corner with the anti-immigration, anti-woman, anti-reproductive right, anti-young people having jobs. against so many people the small slice of the electorate to whom they are appealing is not sustainable over the long term. you feel a panic. >> allen west has taken america, love it or leave it, there is no room for debate if you don't think the way we think you should leave the country and we want you to leave the country. james, what is the next step? the next step is to do a history lesson, understand there are people in the country saying that about people that look like him. he's got to get a better grip on reality. i think that kind of rhetoric is dangerous to the republican party. they are shrinking, they need to think about ways they can expand
the base instead of pandering to their base. >> melissa harris-perry, new show will air at saturday and sunday mornings, and dr. james peterson, thank you for joining us tonight on "the ed show." answer tonight's question at the bottom of the screen, share thoughts on twitter@edshow. a preview of the primary, could get embarrassing for newt gingrich. what will it mean going forward? krystal ball and e.j. dionne join me. romney may be ahead of his polls but his favorability ratings are in the dumps. stay with us, we're right back. e left behind by some mop. why you... nobody's taken a shine to me in a long time. phooey. i don't need anybody...but you! ♪ i believe in miracles
we'll talk how the immigration stance could hurt them in the swing states. when the president spoke about economic fairness at the state of the union republicans say it was all talk. now democrats are proposing the buffet rule in the senate. i'll ask robert reich if it's a good idea and if it will happen. share your thoughts on twitter #edshow. we're right back.
>> welcome back to "the ed show," that was newt gingrich throwing the kitchen sink at mitt romney, despite his last minute attempt to go nuclear on mitt, it looks like tomorrow's florida primary is romney's to lose. the latest suffolk poll shows romney ahead by 20 points. quinnipiac, romney ahead by double digits at well. pollster.com compiled all the polling data showing gingrich's rise and fall, major factor in tomorrow's outcome one thing, money gingrich has been outspent by $12 million. not all bad news for old newt. over the weekend he nabbed a key endorsement, he and his new surrogate hit the campaign trail. >> aww, shuky ducky. >> how can you lose with that support. after endorsing the people a few weeks ago, herman cain got a
little more specific by backing gingrich. he says gingrich is seriously considering his 9-9-9 tax platform. >> he has embraced the idea of replacing the tax code and want one of the major considerations in his mind is my 9-9-9 plan which was a very important issue for me, as you know. he hasn't said that he's definitely going to do it but is giving it serious consideration. >> serious consideration? enough to get an endorsement. now to e.j. dionne, senior fellow at brookings institute and with us tonight, krystal ball. i understand you were at the rally today, cain-gingrich, what can you tell us? >> i was, it was a lot of fun for me. actually, i think the rally pretty well encapsulated with newt's campaign was there at the moment. to say there was 200 people was generous. it was an airplane hangar,
people there were very enthusiastic, strongly anti-establishment, one of the biggest applause lines in the intro was that newt would be the candidate to take on the rnc as well as the dnc. and newt came out and threw a lot of red meat to the crowd, said mitt romney was engaging in a similar war on religion as president obama, was all very well received but again, small crowd. >> that is what happens when you don't have a lot of money, e.j. dionne, florida is shaping up to be the first citizens united primary according to politico, the spending is up 1600% in the republican primary compared to this point in 2008 in that race. how are democrats going to compete with this? >> they are going to raise a lot of money. i suspect barack obama can raise a lot of money through the super pac.
what this tells us this will be a very very very ugly campaign. because the real problem among other things with the super pac, unaccountable money, they can say that is not me, that is the super pac, they can say practically anything and they will. but i think there is another interesting thing that is happening in florida as well, which is newt gingrich now has no reason to drop out and be nice to mitt romney. he has no reason to make a romney road easier at all. this happened first in iowa, and then on gargantuan scale, newt gingrich in a bad mood is not something you wants a an enemy. >> romney is getting more aggressive he talked about his new strategy. >> we were getting just wailed on by speaker gingrich, didn't respond very well back in south carolina, so we decided we'll
respond. i think both the change in tactic as well as message have had a real impact in florida. >> krystal will it work going forward? >> it will work in florida between the nasty debate performances and nasty ads on tv. but i think this is a problem in the general election, romney already trails with independents very badly, trails president obama right now in florida which is very key state. the president leads 50-36 in the latest nbc marist poll. i think it will do real damage to romney if he is the nominee in november. >> romney was asked about his mexican roots by fox news this morning. here it is. >> you're talking about how your father was born in mexico. first time i heard you say that. is that helping you with the latino community in florida? >> you know, i wish i could claim that i'm hispanic, that
would help me in the latino community here in florida and around the country. >> when i first saw that this afternoon, i thought he was dissing the latino community. howtino votes? >> he prepared himself very well by picking up a hot of early support from the kind of cuban republican establishment, but i think it's going to be a problem for him for the whole campaign. as krystal was saying about the tone of the campaign, i have been thinking about this in relation to 2008. in 2008 this were a lot of democrats who liked both barack obama and hillary clinton. there were a lot of republicans who liked john mccain and mick huckabee, now you have republicans thinking more of better of two evils and that is the result of all this negativity. >> it should be no surprise we
are where newt gingrich is, who is going to be leading being outspent 5-to-1, the infrastructure of romney is overwhelming to him right now. he has closed in a few conservative polls. maybe he'll pull the rabbit out of the hat. great to have you with us tonight, thank you. up next, steve doocy claims fox is the most unbiased news network? even the muppets aren't buying his "psycho talk." eva longoria slams mitt romney for his opposition to the dream act. she's not the only one, republicans could be in big trouble this november. stay with us.
in "psycho talk" tone, steve doocy insists fox news is the most unbias the network around. he proudly pointed to a study from the center for media and public affairs at george mason university on press coverage of the 2012 presidential race. >> interestingly enough, the most negative press comes from nbc. they have 73% negative to 27% positive stories about the race. meanwhile the most balanced coverage? fox. 52% positive, 48% negative. so fair and balance not only a slogan, we live by it. >> i have shown you how fair and balanced they are. when they accused of muppets of having an agenda.
an expert weighed in on bolling's accusation. >> accusing fox news of being news. >> even miss piggy is talking about how biased they are. the president of the organization conducting the study was a paid contributor for fox news. how about that. plus, the study only takes into account the first half hour of fox newschannel special report because according to the study, it is most like the network news shows. so this study used at least fox news like half hour of programming to represent the entire network? kids on fox and friends they were not included for steve doocy to say his show is unbiased, we could call that pig-headed "psycho talk."
>> eva longoria is targeting mitt romney for his position on the dream act. coming up, bill burton and joan walsh on latinos and the republican candidates. if you make more than a million dollars a year, you should not pay less than 30% in taxes. >> big news on the buffet rule, in the senate. even though paul ryan said it couldn't happen. >> he's going to put some kind of poll tested line in the state of the union address, have no follow-up whatsoever. >> robert reich is here with the latest. hello! honey? who's she? downy unstopables. here to shake up your fresh. like a cheerleader on espresso. toss these little scent boosters in before you wash. and the fresh scent will last until you're ready to wash again. [ buzzer ] [ laughs ] [ both sniff ] and this fresh scent will last?
true conservatives will rally around. >> conservatives clearly are rejecting romney. he's no where getting a majority. once you get beyond florida these are proportional representation states. this will go all the way to the convention. conservatives will come together and decide they don't want a massachusetts liberal to be the republican nominee. >> one right winger who sure seems to be in newt's corner, former alaska governor, sarah palin. >> so, if for no other reason rage against the machine, vote for newt. keep this vetting process going, the debate going. >> keep the vetting process going. i'm joined by bill burton, former white house deputy secretary under president obama, and cofounder of priorities usa action, and joan walsh, editor of salon.com. joan, you first tonight, do the republicans really believe that a long drawn out ride to the convention will be the best way
to beat president obama? >> no, i don't think they do. i think it's great for president obama and great fun for us, but this is serious blood-letting. ed, these two guys, mitt and newt hate each other, this is a hate-off. the more -- the long they are goes on the weaker romney becomes, and there is also, i have no love for sarah palin, but people who are really trying to sort of blacken the eye of the republican establishment, whatever that is, are really trying to say we will not accept this guy. so you have newt saying i'm going to fight on to the convention. ron paul saying i'm doing it through the caucus states. this could stay very interesting. even though i don't have any doubt i never have, that mitt is going to be the nominee. >> bill, what does it do for the democrats? a long drawn out fight by the republicans. >> well, the longer it lasts the more mitt romney has to take positions that are just even further outside of the main stream. he has doubled down on the support for the ryan budget.
doing irrepairable harm with the hispanic voters. fastest growing demographic, today answering questions about medicare fraud in florida. the longer that mitt romney has to talk about these issues that are putting him outside the main stream the better it is for democrats. >> what do you make of newt gingrich saying he will go all the way to the convention? >> that is what democracy is all about. >> do you think he could do it, does he have the resources to do that? >> he is right in a sense that there is a majority of republicans who are against mitt romney. regardless of the fact he has been running for president for the last six years he has not been able to put together a coalition of voters that can put him over the top. he may well win in florida, he started with a big advantage on absentee ballots before south carolina results came in, but newt could certainly go all the way to the convention if he can hold his campaign together. >> joan walsh, newt gingrich and mitt romney were the only ones campaigning in florida today.
ron paul is already focusing on nevada. his infrastructure there is very strong. can paul stop romney's momentum after florida, what do you think? >> you know, i don't think he can fully stop the momentum but he can be another bump in the road. there can be a bumpy road on the way to the coronation. there is going to be one in these caucus states. it does make me think how hillary clinton stayed in the race for good reasons, wasn't as bitter as this is, but he can actually rack up delegates, i don't know what he will use them for, make it hard for mitt to reach the magic number where everybody breathes a sigh of relief. that might not have for a long time. >> 49% of americans have an unfavorable view of mitt romney. 51% view newt gingrich unfavorably. what does this mean when it comes to the general election? >> rarely has major party's
nominee gone in the general election with such high unfavorables. with mitt romney taking on so much water for stewardship at bain, stewardship of the state of massachusetts, decisions that he made all along the campaign trail, to alienate hispanic voters, that is baggage he carries and will be hard for him to get frout -- get out from under. >> david axelrod sent out a tweet, how loving owners transport their dog with president barack obama and his dog inside a car. joan what do you make of this? >> my dog is a member of dogs against romney, a group protests his treatment. i love that picture i sent it to my friends. we'll win if it's on the grounds of dog treatment. >> bill, all the verbal attacks, all the in-coming on president obama just in the last week, you
know, the head of the rnc, congressman west in florida, you have jan brewer of arizona, is this what it will be like going in all the things that mitt and newt have been saying, is this just the way it will be? >> i think it will be blisteringly negative. if you look how tough newt gingrich has been against mitt romney, imagine what they will do to take the paint off president obama's barn. i think what you're looking at hundreds of millions of dollars in attacks and that is beside what all the republican surrogates will be out there. >> i want to talk to you about money. it is about the money. bill burton and joan walsh, stay with us. mitt romney said he wished he could claim he was hispanic because it would help him with latino voters. but his policies, not his heritage costing him support. stay tuned, lots more coming up. [ male announcer ] a simple gesture can spark romance anytime.
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the dream act has been front and center for the republican candidates down in florida. the legislation provides a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children. it's a hot button issue in a state where 22.5% of the population is latino. in december, mitt romney said he would veto the dream act, which was viewed as a hand-out. latin oh voters don't agree. eva longoria slammed mitt romney on twitter writing, 85% of latino voters support the dream act 100% of @mitt romney doesn't.
she may be low balling support for the legislation. 91% of latino support the dream act. those number cost explain why he's softening his position. here is romney last week in florida. >> i would not sign the dream act as it currently exists but i would sign the dream act if it were focused on military service. >> newt gingrich has a similar position but so far, telling undocumented kids they can only become citizens if they put their lives on the line isn't working. mitt romney has a 28% favorability rating among hispanic voters, newt is at 24%. meanwhile, president obama is at 72% favorability rating. the numbers could make a huge difference in the general election. i'm joined by bill burr done of priorities, usa and joan walsh of salon.com. how in the world is mitt romney going to continue to massage,
joan, his position on latino voters in the dream act and get away with it? i mean, can he win the presidency if he gets the nomination with such a low number of latino voters viewing him unfavorably? >> i think it's hard. bill knows better than i do in the key swing states the latino vote is a growing importance. the thing that is so tragic to me, ed, the dream act used to be the kind of no-brainer, everyone could agree and maybe people weren't sure about other pathways to citizenship and what to do about adults who came here illegally, but everybody for a while seemed to agree that we should educate people who lived here, the children who came here really it was no fault of their own, and we want the best and brightest and kids who have become american, to have a way to stay here that wasn't just about military service. that is one way. so the idea that this has become
a divisive issue and they are demonnizing kids and saying they can't stay and go to college is ridiculous to me. it is a measure of how far they have fallen and how much they've written off the latino vote. they represent a shrinking demographic. sad for them. >> right now, president obama is destroying republicans among latino voters. he leads romney, 67-25. leads gingrich, 70-22. this is an issue we're advertising on, pearing up to talk about the dream act, on immigration. he's the kind of guy who says most immigrants come here for a free ride, then he turns around and says, i wish i could say i was hispanic. >> earlier i played a clip he wished he could claim he was hispanic. what does that tell you about
romney, joan? >> he will say anything, we've talked about this before. he will literally say anything to pander and get elected and it's a sad thing to watch, and his family did have freedom of access from one country to the other. it's just a real measure of the kind of meanness right now of the republican party. >> meanness is the right word. under the umbrella of say anything, i don't know, has self deportation in the united states gone up as of late, since his comment on that, bill, what do you make of that? that is a dartboard mentality, let's just see where it lands. >> i think mitt romney is scrambling, anywhere he can get to get as far to the right of newt gingrich and the rest of the republican party to dry to get favor and build the coalition that has been illusive to him. >> newt gingrich does worse than romney does. what kind of opportunities does this open up for president obama in the general election?
this president has always fared well with minorities and done very strong with latinos, which in many people think is an untapped market. that whole demographic is only going to grow and early on here you have the both republican candidates who are pretty much alienating the entire community. >> as joan was saying, in the swing states, the hispanic community is growing much faster than the rate of other sectors of the population. that is obvious in the southwest, places like colorado, nevada, new mexico, but also in north carolina, virginia, states like that where the hispanic population has grown 14, 15, 16% since 2008. >> eva longoria would she have an impact? absolutely. >> joan, do you think she will? >> i think so. people love her. so i'm glad she lent her name to the cause. >> bill burton, joan walsh, great to have you with us. president obama scores on the big issue of fairness.
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"the ed show" survey i asked will the republican lies about president obama work? 15% of you said yes. 85% said no. coming up, polls show even millionaires say their taxes should be higher, will republicans vote for the bill and the will of the people? i'll talk to former labor secretary robert reich, next. when i inspect homes, i can't be in an allergy fog.
i live claritin clear. welcome back to "the ed show." big finish, democrats push a simple concept, but i think every american can relate to, fairness. this week, democratic senator shelton whitehouse will introduce a version of the buffet rule requiring people making more than a million dollars a year to pay at least 30% income tax. whitehouse has two co-sponsors and says the bill is in much better position after president obama highlighted the buffet rule in the state of the union address. republican congressman paul ryan predicted exactly the opposite. >> what we have learned with the president time and again is he will put some kind of poll-tested line in the state of the union address but have no follow-up. >> the president spoke to the democrats at a retreat. >> we'll push hard for the
buffet rule, make sure millionaires, making over a million dollars a year isn't getting breaks they don't need. not out of envy but out of a sense of fairness and sense of mutual responsibility and a sense of commitment to this country's future. that is what we're fighting for. and the american people understand that. >> newt gingrich called the idea stupid. of course, he and the other candidates would cut taxes for the wealthy further than where they are right now. turn to robert reich, former secretary of labor under the bill clinton administration. currently professor of public policy at uc berkeley and author "after shock." mr. reich, great to have you with us tonight. is this a good idea? what kind of revenue could it generate? would it close the gap? what do you think? >> well, it is a good idea, it's a min you mum tax, in other words it doesn't -- the least that somebody who is a millionaire would be paying, and the estimates are really
somewhere in the range of 40-80 billion dollars. this is not chicken feed we're talking about. it's fair, most americans support this, i think republicans will be in a very difficult place and difficult position saying no to this. >> here is republican senator john kyle on the floor today. here it is. >> president obama's campaigning for reelection on a soap the rich kind of platform. argues income inequality and check with fairness, in his narrative fair society requires more balloons or redistribution. >> mr. rick, if we go back to the old rates, which they were when you were in the clinton administration, were you soaking the rich back then, did it work? >> not only were we not soaking the rich, the rates were higher than they are now, but ed, we had massive growth, 22 million net new jobs during that period. you don't have to go back to the clinton administration, go back to a prior republican
administration, dwight d. eisenhower, president 1950's. the marginal tax rate on people whose income was equivalent of a million dollars today was even when you took all the deductions, all the credits was 52%. official rate was 91%, but even after all the deductions, they were paying 52%. this is what public and administration in the early 1950's, so for republicans now to say that this is outrageous or kind of confiscutory is absurd. in the 1950's the top 1% were taking home 10% of total income in the country. today taking home twice that much. >> well, this i think is a great campaign effort, but it's also morally the right thing to do. wealthy people in this country can pay more. if we are going to fix our treasury, there has to be shared
sacrifice, they had all the breaks in the last ten years. republicans of course will vote against it, but polls show american favor raising taxes on the wealthy. even republicans favor it. even millionaires are in favor of it. >> absolutely. >> how hard should the democrats push this one? >> i think this could be one of the defining issues in the campaign. congressional republicans will vote against it. every democrat should vote for this, president should talk about it it's fairness, patriotism, the question whether we're all in this together and if the rich don't pay more the rest of us will have to pay more or have fewer and less public services. >> it also sets up the republicans to vote against the middle class, doesn't it? >> exactly. it kind of smokes them out, ed. i think the democrats have got to do that. we had years of allowing the republicans to say one thing and vote something else, we need to smoke them out and see whether they are in fact on the side of average working people.
>> new poll shows americans believe president obama understands average americans, romney and gingrich, not so much. these are pretty compelling numbers. and you think that this could be a defining issue. does that mean that possibly the democrats could take back the house on this issue? >> i think so, ed. i'm not sure about the senate, that will be much harder but the democrats if they make this the defining issue, have a very good chance of taking back the house. >> senator whitehouse says there are huge exceptions to the progressive tax system. do you think this is going to fix it? >> well, it depends. if this is designed to be air-tight, nothing is air-tight, obviously, talking a minimum tax here, no deductions, no tax credits, nobody can, who is earning a million dollars or over can get away with not paying 30% if this can be pulled
off, i believe we can. we have precedence historically, i think this would make a big, big difference and would be very important to the country. >> going to be important to get republicans on the record before the election. early and often i would say. robert reich, great to have you with us tonight. the main thing americans need to realize that would help close the gap, do we matter as citizens anymore? what we think in the majority, does that matter to the lawmakers? we'll find out. that is the "the ed show," i'm ed schultz. the "the rachel maddow show" starts right now, good evening, rachel.